Faust 1926

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(28) IMDb 8/10
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F.W. Murnau's classic silent version of the German folk story. Faust (Gosta Ekmann) is an alchemist and scholar who becomes an unwitting pawn in a wager made between the Devil (Emil Jannings) and the Archangel Michael. The Devil sends a plague upon Faust's village, and Faust manages to find a cure, but only after entering into a terrrible bargain which could see his soul damned forever. The Devil then tempts Faust with eternal youth and the love of the beautiful Gretchen, but the scholar continues to struggle with his fate.

Starring:
Gosta Ekman, Yvette Guilbert
Rental Formats:
DVD, Blu-ray

Faust

Product Details

Discs
  • Feature parental_guidance
Runtime 1 hour 55 minutes
Starring Gosta Ekman, Yvette Guilbert, Frida Richard, Camilla Horn, Emil Jannings, William Dieterle
Director F.W. Murnau
Genres Drama
Studio EUREKA ENTERTAINMENT
Rental release 21 January 2002
Main languages German
Discs
  • Feature parental_guidance
Runtime 1 hour 55 minutes
Starring Gosta Ekman, Yvette Guilbert, Frida Richard, Camilla Horn, Emil Jannings, William Dieterle
Director F.W. Murnau
Genres Drama
Studio EUREKA ENTERTAINMENT
Rental release 18 August 2014
Main languages German
Subtitles English

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Lee R on 11 Aug 2014
Format: Blu-ray
WARNING: Light spoilers ahead.

I'm almost ashamed to admit I was never really wowed by the film the only time I'd seen it previously on the first Eureka DVD. This year though I've been plowing my way through all of Murnau's surviving works and finding much of interest, so this Blu-ray of Faust was timed perfectly for me. This time I found it one of the most visually stunning films I've seen, and the Blu-ray is fabulous for that. The first 40 minutes is an endless visual assault, after which the film changes tactic somewhat and throws in melodrama and comedy. I found this dragged a little but Jannings keeps it afloat with a deliciously wicked performance. It changes again in the final third, and I was witness to raw emotion and the wickedness so-called good men can inflict upon the suffering. In fact, a devilish Mephisto seems to possess far more humanity than many of the God-fearing villagers. Very much a film of 3 distinct acts (along with it's prologue and epilogue).

I can now understand why this is hailed as a masterpiece, and it's a genuinely superb Blu-ray presentation. I had planned to leave the extras until another time, but ended up ploughing through the visual pieces (except the export version, the comparison featurette tells me all I need to know) all in one sitting. My highest recommendation.
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59 of 62 people found the following review helpful By Chip Kaufmann on 30 Sep 2006
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
For many years F.W. Murnau's FAUST was known to me only through a few stills and a poster. About 15 years ago I came across a public domain video copy which had poor picture quality and Vivaldi's FOUR SEASONS as its soundtrack. Even with these handicaps I could tell that it was something very special and I longed for the day when I might see a better print of the film. A few years ago Kino International released a high quality DVD of FAUST with a newly commissioned score and I was ecstatic as I could now see the film close to the way it must have looked in 1926. Now Eureka has come out with this double DVD set which allows us for the first time to see the film the way Murnau intended. The Kino edition was based on the export version which differs in a number of ways from the original domestic version made available here. The biggest difference is in the way a number of scenes are treated. They are more expanded in the original and have a sharper picture quality than the export version. The ending of Faust and Gretchen ascending to Heaven is missing which seems rather strange as that is key to the film's theme of redemption through forgiveness. Thanks to this set you can view both versions and see the differences for yourself.

The performances especially by Emil Jannings as Mephistopheles and Camilla Horn as Gretchen are remarkable and the various special effects used are outstanding for the time and still have the power to astonish. As I said in an earlier review most silent film buffs think PANDORA'S BOX with Louise Brooks to be the apex of German silent cinema and maybe it is but I cast my vote for FAUST. Murnau was a true cinematic poet, a German Cocteau if you will, and all of his considerable skill as a cinematic storyteller went into the making of this film.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Victor HALL OF FAMETOP 50 REVIEWER on 18 Aug 2010
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
Some years ago a good friend introduced me to Nosferatu, which I thoroughly enjoyed and consider to be a cinematic masterpiece. I determined to see more work from the same director, but have never got around to it now. I am glad I waited, as the Masters of Cinema series from Eureka is now allowing me to see these films in superb quality.

Faust is a dark tale of man's desires and the depths he can be driven to, tempered, ultimately with his capacity for self sacrifice and redemption.

The film opens with visually arresting images as the Devil Mephisto and an Angel lay a wager - if Mephisto can capture the soul of Faust, and turn the good Doctor to evil then he can lay claim to all the earth for his dominion. Mephisto starts a savage plague which Faust's science and faith cannot cure. In desperation he summons the Devil and seals a pact in his own blood, initially for the power to help the victims for a day. Cunningly Mephisto draws Faust ever deeper into his clutches, until, for the love of good woman he finds redemption.

The narrative is well known, but it is told in a fantastic and visually arresting fashion by Murneau, a master of his art. There are several big set pieces, especially at the beginning of the film, with some amazing special effects. Mephisto rising from a pit of fire, looking over the town spreading plague, the whole summoning sequence at the crossroads. These scenes are quite iconic, and leave one breathless with excitement and wonder.

Every scene is shot with meticulous attention to detail. The lighting for each is finely judged, and brings out the maximum impact and depth. The famous scene where the original Faustian pact is signed is a particular example; it is packed with immense emotion.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By spotty on 30 Aug 2014
Format: Blu-ray Verified Purchase
Not very much to add to the comprehensive and effusive reviews already here.

I would like to praise the sets and lighting. How is it that these old film can be so perfect in this respect? And I can't tell how much is genuine ancient Germany and how much built sets. No matter: the balance and composition and atmosphere generated by them is wonderful and so evocative! I recall the 'Cabinet of Dr. Caligari' had the same ability to grab and drag you into the period and into the story.
I'm not sure about Faust as a young man: not helped by his age or looks or hat and make-up, however authentic. But Gretchen is the very embodiment of the beautiful and innocent virgin.
I would make one further remark about the choice of background music of which we have three choices. I chose the harp for my first viewing, feeling that it would be less intrusive than full orchestra. However I found it to be too lightweight for the drama of the piece, too colourless, and sometimes an irritation. Auditioning the full score I would make this my first choice - though I haven't heard the piano as yet - being good music, appropriate to and enhancing of the actions.
It's great when cinema becomes an art-form: so rare in modern films which mostly care only about making mega-bucks.
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